Element - - Gardening - By Janet Luke



Spring has sprung and the warmer weather her­alds an in­crease in plant growth, fi­nally! Are you notic­ing lots of weeds start­ing to come up in your gar­den? Be­lieve it or not, this is a great sign that your gar­den soil is warm enough to start sow­ing seeds and plant seedlings.

Ripe for the pick­ing

Leeks, parsnips, al­ways sweeter af­ter a good frost, broad beans, car­rots, beet­root, kale, Caverlo Nero, spinach, sil­ver beet, Brus­sels sprouts, wa­ter­cress, Florence fen­nel, cele­riac and sal­sify are all ready to en­joy. Rhubarb is par­tic­u­larly suc­cu­lent at this time of year. To har­vest pull the largest out­side leaves, don’t cut them. Al­ways leave a few stalks on the plant to main­tain its vigour. Re­cy­cle the poi­sonous leaves in the com­post. Chives are a great herb to have in the gar­den. They go well with eggs or when you re­quire a mild onion flavour. You can sow seeds any­time in­doors. Di­vide any large clumps you may have grow­ing out­side now to in­crease your plant numbers. In sum­mer chives pro­duce pink pom-pom-shaped flow­ers. They are great for at­tract­ing bees. In­stead of bor­ing old green mondo grass why not plant chives as an at­trac­tive edg­ing plant? Try grow­ing chives around the trunks of ap­ple trees as a nat­u­ral pre­ven­ta­tive of some ap­ple dis­eases. Chervil looks a lit­tle like lacy pars­ley. It is an an­nual so needs to be re-sown each year. It is best to sow as seeds as the plant de­vel­ops a tap root and doesn’t like to be trans­planted. Plant in an area where is will re­ceive shade, per­haps un­der tall beans or corn. If its leaves turn pink it is get­ting too much sun and is con­tem­plat­ing bolt­ing to seed! Aphids ap­par­ently don’t like the smell of it so try plant­ing it around your bras­si­cas, straw­ber­ries, let­tuce and toma­toes.

Ur­ban Or­chard

You may see new buds form­ing on some of your fruit trees. Now is the time to spray all your fruit trees with cop­per. This is a nat­u­ral fungi­cide and will hope­fully kill off any fun­gus which causes dis­eases such as leaf curl, black spot and pow­dery mildew. When I make up

www.greenur­ban­liv­ the spray I add a squirt of wash­ing up liq­uid to help the spray stick to the leaves. Choose a day which is warm, calm and dry, and a fore­cast which is dry for the next cou­ple of days. Cover the tree with spray pay­ing par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the un­der­side of the leaves and the trunk, es­pe­cially the crevices where branches meet the trunk.


If you have a warm sunny spot start ger­mi­nat­ing tomato, cap­sicums, chilli and egg­plant seeds in­side. Sow seeds of peas, broad beans, car­rots, leek, let­tuce and sil­ver beet di­rectly in the gar­den. Plant out seedlings of Globe ar­ti­choke which you can nor­mally find in the herb aisle at the gar­den cen­tre. Once ma­ture these are a strik­ing plant with its spiky soft sil­ver leaves. Don’t hide it in the vege gar­den, plant it in the front for ev­ery­one to ad­mire. Plant asparagus crowns, cab­bage, cau­li­flower, broc­coli, onion, and sil­ver­beet seedlings . If you want new pota­toes to go with the turkey on Christ­mas day now is the time to sow early sea­son pota­toes. I grow Jersey Bennes and Swift as both only take around three months un­til ready to har­vest. Only grow cer­ti­fied seeded pota­toes, which are in the gar­den cen­tres now. Put the pota­toes in a sunny spot for a few weeks un­til they start to sprout. This is called Chitting, but don’t ask me where that word came from! Plant in a trench at least 30cm deep and back fill. As the leaves emerge cover again with soil, al­low­ing the top of the leaves to be seen. Re­peat this at least three times. Al­ter­na­tively grow in a rub­bish bin and re­peat this process.

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